Skin cancer reconstruction is a procedure that can be performed in the same surgical session as a skin cancer removal procedure. It can also be performed as an additional surgery after recovery. This procedure offers a few different techniques to restore the appearance and integrity of the skin where cancerous cells are removed. Many patients prefer this because it can reduce scarring at the cancerous site and create a better appearance, especially of the facial skin.
Because skin cancer can affect every patient differently, it’s best to discuss your options for reconstruction as an important part of your skin cancer treatment. Skin cancer surgery can present different challenges since cancerous tissue can sometimes exist deeper than anticipated. For this reason, it’s important to know your reconstructive options ahead of time and prepare for reconstruction at the time of surgery. This may not always be the case, however, so we can assess your anatomy and plan the best reconstructive techniques for you.
There are two common ways to reconstruct the skin after skin cancer treatment, although patients can sometimes require a more customized and delicate approach if other tissues are affected.
This is the most common and preferred approach since it requires less manipulation of the tissues. It requires cutting a flap from the skin next to the affected area and shifting it over the excised area, attaching it in place. This technique works best when there are natural creases to conceal any scarring or contours. In some cases, more elaborate reconstruction can be performed with multiple flap incisions.
In more extreme or difficult cases, a skin graft can be taken from another area of the body and used to cover the surgical site. The donor skin is usually taken from easily-concealable areas of the body, where the resulting edges of the excision site are sutured together if needed.
Your reconstruction procedure will be unique to your skin cancer treatment, goals, and anatomy. During your consultation, we’ll discuss your options and plan the best procedure for you, as well as recommend any additional procedures that might benefit you. If your reconstructive procedure is separate from your skin cancer surgery, we can perform your reconstruction within our private, accredited surgical facility. We’ll make sure you have a detailed plan of your surgical procedure that includes which reconstructive technique will benefit you most. We can usually perform this procedure under local anesthesia or sedation, depending on the complexity of your procedure.
Depending on the extensiveness of your procedure, your recovery may be similar to any other plastic surgical procedure. You will need to maintain your incisions and dressings during your initial recovery, and you can expect some swelling and pain which can be managed with prescribed medications. Depending on the size and complexity of your surgical site, you may require only a few days of downtime or longer. However, it can take many months for scarring to fade completely, so we offer the latest scar-healing treatments for use during your recovery to optimize your results. We can also recommend the best in skincare treatments to reduce scarring and repair skin damage. It’s highly important to regularly consult your dermatologist after reconstruction to ensure your skin stays healthy and protected from further cancerous activity.
Although skin cancer treatment can be an effective way to halt and remove cancerous activity, you don’t need to worry about your options when it comes to reconstruction. During a consultation, we can discuss your options and recommend the best treatment plan for you to ensure you recover both your health and your confidence. Schedule a consultation at our St. Joseph office by calling or filling out our online form.